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John F. Kennedy Jr

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Title: John F. Kennedy Jr  
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John F. Kennedy Jr

For Australian footballer John Kennedy Jr., see John Kennedy, Jr. (Australian rules footballer).
"John-John" redirects here. For people named John John, see John John.
John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Kennedy Space Center in 1998.
Born John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr.
(1960-11-25)November 25, 1960
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Died July 16, 1999(1999-07-16) (aged 38)
Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Martha's Vineyard
Cause of death Plane crash
Other names JFK, Jr.
Alma mater Brown University (A.B.)
New York University (J.D.)
Occupation Journalist, lawyer, magazine publisher
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Carolyn Jeanne Bessette
(m. 1996–1999; their deaths)
Parents John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Sr.
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. (November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999), often referred to as JFK Jr. or John-John, was an American socialite, journalist, lawyer, and magazine publisher. The elder son of U.S. President John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, Sr. and First Lady Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Bouvier, he died in a plane crash along with his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy; and her older sister Lauren Bessette, on July 16, 1999.

Early life

Kennedy was born at Georgetown University Hospital seventeen days after his father was elected to the presidency. He was in the public spotlight up until his death in 1999. Kennedy had two older sisters, Arabella Kennedy (who was stillborn) and attorney Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, as well as a younger brother, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who died two days after his birth in August 1963. For most of the first three years of his life, John-John lived in the White House when his father was president. His nickname "John-John" came from a reporter who misheard JFK calling him ("John" spoken twice in quick succession).[2]

His father John was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and the state funeral was held three days later on his third birthday. In a moment that became an emotional and iconic image of the 1960s, Kennedy stepped forward and rendered a final salute as the flag-draped casket was carried out from St. Matthew's Cathedral.[3] The image was captured by photographer Stan Stearns.[1] Following his father's assassination, Kennedy grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City and his mother, Jackie, married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, whom she had met in the early 1950s.[4] Their marriage lasted until Onassis' death in 1975.


Kennedy attended the Collegiate School in New York City from third through tenth grades, and later graduated from Phillips Academy (also known as Andover). Kennedy graduated from Brown University in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in history.

After Brown, Kennedy took a working break, traveling to India and spending some time at the University of Delhi, where he met Mother Teresa. He also worked with some of the Kennedy special interest projects, including the East Harlem School at Exodus House and Reaching Up. From 1984 to 1986, he worked for the New York City Office of Business Development. He served as deputy director of the 42nd Street Development Corporation in 1986. He also did a bit of acting during that time, an activity which had been one of his passions; he appeared in many plays while at Brown. He expressed interest in acting as a career, but his mother strongly disapproved of it as a suitable profession.[5]

In 1989, Kennedy earned a J.D. degree from the New York University School of Law.[6] He failed the New York bar exam twice before passing on the third try in July 1990.[7] Kennedy then served as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney's office for four years.[8]


While an undergraduate at Brown, Kennedy was initiated into Phi Psi, a local social fraternity which had been the Rhode Island Alpha Chapter of national Phi Kappa Psi fraternity until 1978.[9]

Public career

Several times, Kennedy was asked publicly if he was interested in following in his father's footsteps and choosing politics as a career; he would always decline for the time being, but he would not rule it out for the future.[10] In 1995, Kennedy and New York public relations magnate Michael J. Berman founded George, a glossy politics-as-lifestyle monthly which sometimes took editorial aim even at members of his own family. Kennedy controlled 50 percent of the company's shares.[11] After Kennedy's death, the magazine was bought out by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines,[12] his partners in George, and continued for over a year. With falling advertising sales,[12] the magazine folded in early 2001.[13] Before his death, however, Kennedy had conceded that he "might have to wind it up by the end of the year".[14]

Personal life

Kennedy married Carolyn Jeanne Bessette, the youngest daughter of William J. Bessette and Ann Messina Freeman, on September 21, 1996, on Cumberland Island, Georgia.[15] His older sister Caroline acted as the matron of honor and his cousin Anthony Stanislas Radziwill was his best man.[16]


On July 16, 1999, Kennedy, his wife Carolyn, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette were reported missing when the Piper Saratoga II HP he was piloting failed to arrive at its planned destination after Kennedy checked in with the FAA tower at the Martha's Vineyard Airport in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The trio were en route to attend the wedding of Kennedy's cousin, Rory Kennedy. A search commenced more than 15 hours later to locate them, finally ending in the late afternoon hours of July 21, when the three bodies were recovered from the ocean floor by Navy divers. The bodies were taken by motorcade to the county medical examiner's office.[17] The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the plane had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard, the probable cause being pilot error: "Kennedy's failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation."[18] Kennedy was not qualified to fly a plane by "instruments only", though the crash occurred in conditions not legally requiring such qualification. Other pilots flying similar routes reported no visual horizon due to haze.[19] In the evening of July 21, autopsies at the county medical examiner's office revealed that the crash victims had died upon impact. At the same time, the Kennedy and Bessette families announced their plans for memorial services.[17] In the late hours of July 21, the three bodies were taken from Hyannis to Duxbury, where they were cremated in the Mayflower Cemetery crematorium.[20] On the morning of July 22, their ashes were scattered from the Navy destroyer USS Briscoe off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.[21]

See also


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • National Transportation Safety Board investigation final report
  • JFK Jr's political donations
  • FBI file on John F. Kennedy Jr.
  • In-depth coverage of JFK Jr's death
  • Kennedy's body, airplane wreckage found
  • Regarding JFK Jr.'s burial at sea
  • Find a Grave
Preceded by
Harry Hamlin
People magazine's
Sexiest Man Alive

Succeeded by
Sean Connery

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